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How Bears Breed Unicorns: Inside Cal’s Vast Startup Ecosystem

How’s this for a modern take on the venerable office vending machine? You swipe your credit or debit card, open a fridge-like glass door, and choose from an array of fresh entrees and snacks. If you want a receipt, the machine will email it to you, and it keeps track of your preferences: next time there’s a sale on your favorite yogurt, Byte Food’s cloud-based servers will give you a heads up.   Read more about How Bears Breed Unicorns: Inside Cal's Vast Startup Ecosystem »

Dammed If We Do: What Could Happen If Oroville Dam Fails

The news from Oroville Dam on Tuesday is nominally better. Water isn’t flowing over the top of wall at the auxiliary spillway, and erosion has stopped. Water releases are ahead of inflows, and the reservoir’s level is falling. Perhaps most encouraging for the close to 200,000 displaced locals downstream of the dam, the evacuation alert has been downgraded. Read more about Dammed If We Do: What Could Happen If Oroville Dam Fails »

Marriage Is Driving Some to Drugs And It May Not Be a Bad Thing

Writer Ayelet Waldman was teaching a class on drug policy reform at UC Berkeley when she and her husband, the popular novelist Michael Chabon, decided that MDMA, the illegal party drug fueling those all-night raves, might also be a medicine that could save their marriage. They got the idea after Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin, the psychedelic chemist and so-called “godfather of ecstasy,” spoke to her class.  Read more about Marriage Is Driving Some to Drugs And It May Not Be a Bad Thing »

Exploring the Quirky in Berkeley

For Tom Dalzell, a small scratch on the elbow in 2011 prompted a whirlwind of events, one that would take him on a sinuous journey through nearly every street of Berkeley.

The author and labor law activist found his life teetering in the balance after a minor wound became mortally septic. Days later, Dalzell exited the hospital with a reinvigoration for life itself. “I came out very determined to live life very differently,” he says. “One of things I chose to do, as a manifestation of my appreciation of Berkeley, was to walk every block of every street.” Read more about Exploring the Quirky in Berkeley »

Barriers Abound to Trump’s Border Wall

The rapid fire train wreck-a-day strategy of the Trump administration has left some people breathless and others queasy. Flogging a travel ban designed to exclude Muslims, provoking China, insulting Australia, staring down Iran, comparing Russia to the United States, and locally, floating a question of pulling federal funding from Cal due to inadequate “free speech protections” for far-right pundit Milo Yiannopoulos—whew. It’s enough to leave you wondering who or what’s on first. Read more about Barriers Abound to Trump's Border Wall »

“Separating Fact from Fantasy” Panel Takes on Fake News

Those gathered at UC Berkeley on a recent Thursday night for a panel on fake news were primarily concerned with debating the scope and responsibility of Silicon Valley’s tech giants for disseminating false information leading up to the presidential election. No one on the panel could have predicted the unprecedented shift the conversation would take around the issue of fake news just a few days later. Read more about "Separating Fact from Fantasy" Panel Takes on Fake News »

Are We Living in a Post-Poll World?

They wrong. They’re rigged. They’re partisan. They’re worthless.

Polls took as vicious a drubbing as civility and real news in the latest election. And they’re still drawing withering abuse from Donald Trump and his supporters, who maintain that surveys showing that he is highly unpopular are lies, perfidious lies. Trump, in fact, continues to promote a narrative that we are living in a post-poll world, that polls are not only inaccurate but passé; nobody cares about them. Read more about Are We Living in a Post-Poll World? »

Uncovered California: ACA Repeal’s Full Cost

No state did Obamacare quite like California.

Here, we built our own state-insurance market. Here, we got a jumpstart on shifting low-income residents onto Medi-Cal (the state’s Medicaid program) as early as 2010. Here, insurance policies were standardized, consumer protections were tightened, and multi-lingual, statewide PR campaigns were kicked into overdrive. While other, redder states dragged their institutional heels, California took to the Affordable Care Act with gusto. Read more about Uncovered California: ACA Repeal's Full Cost »

Cal Alumni Get Oscar Noms

This morning, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released its list of 2017 Oscar nominees via video live stream, with Cal alumni dominating the documentary short category. Berkeley J-School lecturer Dan Krauss’s Extremis, which explores the ethically murky territory of end-of-life decision making, and alumna Daphne Matziaraki’s 4.1 Miles, about a captain suddenly charged with saving the lives of thousands of drowning refugees, are competing against one another; Krauss was once Matziaraki’s instructor and advisor. Read more about Cal Alumni Get Oscar Noms »

The Oscar-Shortlisted Doc That Puts You on a Sinking Boat

In Daphne Matziaraki’s documentary short, 4.1 Miles, she several times breaks the fourth wall, as her arm stretches out in front of the camera’s view, to grasp an outstretched hand or a rope. These instances are not born simply out of artistic choice, but rather grave necessity, as life and death bob against the ocean currents surrounding the Greek island of Lesbos. Read more about The Oscar-Shortlisted Doc That Puts You on a Sinking Boat »

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